Minneapolis pastor says they need more police – not less: ‘It’s sad to see people live in fear’

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN – During a recent appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” a pastor based out of Minneapolis said that his neighborhood is starting to resemble something straight out of the “wild, wild west” (and he’s not talking about the action/comedy starring Will Smith and Kevin Kline either).

Pastor Steve Carlisle from Vine Church stated summed the problem with Minneapolis up nicely:

“Crime is on the up and up.”

While City Council members have been vying to have the Minneapolis Police Department defunded, Pastor Carlisle says that the city needs more police – not less:

“We need a greater cop presence, and there are incidents — I just happen to live about six blocks from the Third Precinct, six blocks away from where the Target was burned down and I can tell you, speaking for where I live, it would seem like the Wild, Wild West.”

The pastor described the ongoing troubles and riots as frightening:

“People are just bold enough to fire guns and break into places. It’s just, it becomes scary.”

Remarking on how the city once looked, Pastor Carlisle noted that with the city being in the state that it is in, people are leaving the area or living “in fear” if they have stayed behind:

“You know what, it’s sad to see…Minneapolis is a beautiful place. It’s really sad to see people move out and it’s sad to see people live in fear.”

Aside from being a man of faith, Pastor Carlisle is also a devoted husband and father of seven children. As of late, the overall feeling in the neighborhood is one of tension rather than comfort, according to the pastor:

“There’s no sirens and there’s no cop presence, you know, there’s no cops pulling up and wanting to get to know, talk with us. So, that’s a little bit disheartening.”

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In the wake of George Floyd’s death and protests against racism and police brutality in cities spanning from coast to coast, Minneapolis continues to see unprecedented gun violence in its city.

According to Star Tribune, at least 275 people have been victims of shootings in Minneapolis so far this year. This devastating number surpasses the entire annual totals of all but two years of the last 10 years.  Those two exceptions are 2016 and 2017 when 280 and 341 people were shot. 

Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) records show that 269 people were shot in total in all of 2019. As of July 2020, the city has already surpassed that total. Records also show that the shooting tally is nearly 60% higher than the five-year average for this time of the year.

The city typically sees a spike in gun violence every year during the summer months, not only because of the hot weather that draws more people outside, but because the summer months have many death anniversaries of slain-high profile gang members.

However, this year’s gun violence began earlier, dating back to the unrest after George Floyd’s death. Additionally, the city’s 37 homicides have nearly doubled since this time last year. The 37th homicide happened Thursday, July 23rd.

According to Star Tribune, the 17-year-old boy was shot to death on Minneapolis’ South Side. Police responded to a report of shots fired just after 6 p.m. in the area of 35th Street and S. Chicago Avenue, several blocks north of the George Floyd memorial site.

As the officers arrived on scene, they found the 17-year-old boy suffering from at least one gunshot wound. One of the officers started CPR and the victim was transported to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The victim’s name was not immediately released and no one has yet been arrested for his death. 

The news of these astonishing numbers came the day after the Minneapolis City Council cut $1.5 million from the MPD’s annual $193 million budget. On Friday, the announcement of the budget cut detailed that most of the money will be diverted to the Office of Violence Prevention.

Accordingly, the Office of Violence Prevention may use the money to fund a program patterned after the Cure Violence program that uses trusted messengers to mediate street conflicts and persuade high-risk youth to take a different path.

As the City Council approved to slash the $1.5 million, police officials and community leaders are continuing to search for solutions to the gun violence problem. Some of these solutions involved the department combining several investigative units to form the Gun Violence Response Unit, which is focused on getting guns off the streets.

Since the unit began working, court filings show that authorities are close to solving several of the recent shootings, including the June 21st running gun battle in Uptown in which more than 70 rounds were fired and 11 people were injured. Police also said they are on track to top last year’s total of 946 recovered guns.

Police supervisors have reshuffled staff to add numbers to their patrol division and cover gaps created by recent departures. To help combat the crime spike, Police Chief Medario Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey have sought help from federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms as well as the Secret Service.

It is not uncommon for larger cities to partner with federal government agencies. Kyle Loven, a former FBI agent who left the bureau after 22 years to join a Minneapolis-based digital forensics firm said in a statement:

“The FBI has a lot of technology as it’s disposal that it can bring to bear to assist local departments. The FBI can add considerable manpower and crime-fighting technology.”

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